London Theatre News - October 2017

Little Shop of Horrors at the Open Air Theatre: 3 August to 15 September 2018

Maria Aberg's revival of the classic Howard Ashman and Alan Menken musical Little Shop of Horrors will run at London's Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park from Friday 3 August 2018.
Down and out skid row floral assistant Seymour becomes an overnight sensation when he discovers an exotic plant with a mysterious craving for fresh blood. Soon 'Audrey II' grows into an ill-tempered, foul-mouthed, R'n'B-singing carnivore offering him fame and fortune in exchange for feeding its growing appetite... but as Audrey II's hungry demands increase, all that Seymour holds dear is threatened as the plant's sinister agenda for global domination is revealed... One mean green monster musical! A botanical bloodfest!! Like Faust on fertiliser!!!
Little Shop of Horrors at London's Open Air Theatre will run for a strictly limited season from Friday 3 August through to Saturday 15 September 2018.

As You Like It at the Open Air Theatre: 6 to 28 July 2018

Max Webster's revival of William Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It will run at London's Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park from Friday 6 July 2018.
In the mythical Forest of Arden, a world of transformation where anything is possible and anything permissible, two young people discover what it really means to be in love.
As You Like It at London's Open Air Theatre will run for a strictly limited season from Friday 6 July through to Saturday 28 July 2018.

The Turn of the Screw at the Open Air Theatre: 23 June to 30 June 2018

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, in association with English National Opera presents Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw in London for a strictly limited season from Friday 22 June 2018.
The story of unearthly encounters at a remote country house, and of a young governess desperate to protect her children, finds chilling new levels of suspense in this unique outdoor production at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. Director Timothy Sheader and members of the ENO orchestra, conducted by ENO Mackerras Fellow Toby Purser, bring their award-winning skills to Britten’s masterly reworking of Henry James' classic novella.
The Turn of the Screw at London's Open Air Theatre will run for a strictly limited season from Friday 22 through to Saturday 30 June 2018.

Peter Pan: 'Radically re-imagined & physically inventive' - returns 17 May to 15 June 2018

Following an acclaimed run in 2015, Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel's production of J M Barrie's original play Peter Pan returns to London's Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park from Thursday 17 May 2018.
Imagination takes flight in this darkly comic tale, yet in an ever changing world, and without a mother’s love, what place is there for the boy who wouldn’t grow up? In this staging the play's era has been moved 10 years on from its original setting. For the wounded soldiers of World War One, imagination is their only escape. Yet as they’re transported to the fantastical lagoons and pirate ships of Never Land, allegories of the war they’ve left behind are ever present.
When this production was originally seen in 2015, Henry Hitchings in the London Evening Standard highlighted how "the story of Peter Pan, so often rendered in a cloyingly saccharine style, is radically re-imagined here" in "this physically inventive production by Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel." Neil Norman in the Daily Express described it as being "a Peter Pan for grown-ups, a resonant, heartfelt and revealing production poised between the magic and the tragic," while Claire Allfree in the Daily Telegraph hailed it as being a "terrific new production... a shimmering mix of dream and nightmare."
Peter Pan at London's Open Air Theatre will run for a strictly limited season from Thursday 17 May through to Friday 15 June 2018.

Dinosaur World Live at the Open Air Theatre: 14 Aug to 9 Sept 2018

Dare to experience the dangers and delights of Dinosaur World Live in London in this interactive new for show all the family at the Open Air Theatre from Tuesday 14 August 2018.
Grab your compass and join our intrepid explorer across unchartered territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant, the Tyrannosaurus rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan and Segnosaurus, to name a few!
Suitable for ages 3 and above. Book now for this entertaining and mind-expanding Jurassic adventure, live on stage!
Dinosaur World Live will play special morning and afternoon performances at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park from Tuesday 14 August through to Sunday 9 September 2018.

Venus in Fur: "More pain than pleasure"

Patrick Marber's production of David Ives' dark comedy Venus in Fur opened at London's Haymarket Theatre on Tuesday 17 October 2017.
"You don't have to tell me about sadomasochism. I'm in the theatre." Enigmatic actress Vanda Jordan appears unannounced for an audition with director Thomas Novachek. She’s determined to land the leading role in his new production – despite seeming wrong for the part. Over one evening in downtown Manhattan their charged meeting becomes a seductive dance to the end. A dark comedy about desire, fantasy.... and the love of fur.
This two-hander stars Natalie Dormer and David Oakes.
When this production opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times highlighted that "there is more pain than pleasure to be had from this two-handed play... Natalie Dormer and David Oakes act the hell out of this 90-minute piece, but I'm not convinced it's worth their while." Fiona Mountford in the London Evening Standard commented that "too often it seems silly rather than sexy," while Lyn Gardner in the Guardian thought it was a "mildly entertaining two-hander."
Venus in Fur continues at the Haymarket Theatre up to Saturday 9 December 2017.

A Woman of No Importance: "A stunning lead performance from Eve Best"

Dominic Dromgoole's revival of Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance opened at London's Vaudeville Theatre on Monday 16 October 2017.
'A play of modern life' by Oscar Wilde. Set amidst the grandeur of an English country home, Oscar Wilde's deliciously witty satire centres around the revelation of Mrs Arbuthnot's long-concealed secret and her struggle to survive in a society that values image above integrity - a brilliantly sharp comedy of the classes.
The cast is lead by Eve Best as 'Mrs Arbuthnot' with Eleanor Bron, Emma Fielding, William Gaunt, Anne Reid and Dominic Rowan.
When this revival opened Dominic Maxwell in the Times hailed the "stunning lead performance from Eve Best." Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail said that this revival "subtly tickles up Oscar for the 21st century," while Paul Taylor in the i newspaper praised how "the ping-pong of Wildean bon mots is played with real force of personality by a cast of de luxe performers."
A Woman of No Importance continues at the Vaudeville Theatre up to Saturday 30 December 2017.

"Highly imaginative, mixed-media adaptation" of Brief Encounter returns 2 March 2018

Ten years after it was first seen in London, it has now been confirmed that Kneehigh Theatre's acclaimed live stage production of Noel Coward's Brief Encounter will return to London's Empire Cinema from 2 March 2018.
The lives and loves of three couples are played out in the famous station tearoom using the words and songs of Noel Coward to create a breathtaking, delightfully funny and tear-inducing show.
Kneehigh Theatre's Artistic Director Emma Rice adapted this production which switches between theatre and film, using a combination of Noel Coward's original stage play, Still Life, and the screenplay of Brief Encounter, presented in a live staging that promises to take audiences back to a bygone age of romance and the silver screen.
When this production was seen in London in 2008, Benedict Nightingale in the Times praised how "Emma Rice's staging of Noel Coward's screenplay is a delight: moving, funny, gripping and, even at its most inventive, true to the original and its all-English heart," while Paul Taylor in the Independent hailed the "highly imaginative, mixed-media adaptation."
Brief Encounter will play 'live on stage' at the Empire Cinema in the Haymarket from 2 March 2018.

Young Frankenstein: "An evening of gloriously impure fun"

Mel Brooks' musical comedy Young Frankenstein opened at London's Garrick Theatre on Tuesday 10 October 2017.
Grandson of the infamous Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (pronounced ‘Fronk-en-steen’) inherits a castle in Transylvania leading him to fulfill his grandfather’s legacy by bringing a corpse back to life. With help and hindrance from hunchback henchman Igor, buxom assistant Inga and needy fiancee Elizabeth, his experiment yields madcap success and monstrous consequences.
Directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, the cast features Hadley Fraser as 'Dr Frederick Frankenstein', Ross Noble and Lesley Joseph.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian said "it offers an evening of gloriously impure fun," adding that "Susan Stroman, as director and choreographer, orchestrates the extravaganza perfectly... two-and-a-half hours of time-suspending pleasure." In the Times Ann Treneman said that "it's tremendously old-fashioned, the stage so crowded with double (make that triple) entendres that I'm surprised there was room for the cast. It's unashamedly politically incorrect."
Young Frankenstein continues at the Garrick Theatre where it is currently booking up to Saturday 29 September 2018.

Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst dance musical Sylvia opens 6 September 2018

Kate Prince's new dance musical Sylvia opens at London's Old Vic Theatre on 6 September 2018, following public previews from 1 September.
A modern dance musical, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, that celebrates the life of the British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, her pivotal role in the campaign for women’s rights and the price of the passion and politics that tore her family apart.
This production is being staged to mark 100 years since the first women in Britain were granted the vote in 1918.
Sylvia will play at the Old Vic Theatre for a strictly limited three week season up to Saturday 22 September 2018.

Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls opens 17 July 2018

Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls opens at London's Old Vic Theatre on 17 July 2018, following public previews from 7 July.
Thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum have managed just fine since his dad moved to America. But now his mum’s very sick and she’s not getting any better. His grandmother won’t stop interfering and the kids at school won’t look him in the eye. Then, one night, at seven minutes past midnight, Conor is woken by something at his window. A monster has come walking. It’s come to tell Conor tales from when it walked before. And when it’s finished, Conor must tell his own story and face his deepest fears.
This stage adaptation has been devised by the company from the novel by Patrick Ness, inspired by an idea by Siobhan Dowd, and directed for the stage by Sally Cookson.
A Monster Calls will play for a limited six week season up to Saturday 25 August 2018.

Joe Penhall's Mood Music opens 2 May 2018

Roger Michell's World Premiere production of Joe Penhall's new play Mood Music openes at London's Old Vic Theatre on 2 May 2018, following public previews from 21 April.
In an expensive London recording studio two songwriters, their lawyers and their psychotherapists go to battle over music. A play about the drama and the psychodrama of making music.
Mood Music will play for a limited two month season at the Old Vic Theatre up to 30 June 2018.

Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander opens 1 March 2018

Stephen Beresford's stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander opens at London's Old Vic Theatre on 1 March 2018, following public previews from 21 February.
Sweden in the 1900s. Sister and brother, Fanny and Alexander’s world is suddently turned upside down when their widowed mother remarries the iron-willed local bishop. As creative freedom and rigid orthodoxy clash, a war ensues between imagination and austerity in this magical study of childhood, family and love.
Directed by Max Webster and presented in London to mark the 100-year anniversary of Ingmar Bergman's birth.
Fanny and Alexander will play at the Old Vic Theatre for a seven week season up to Saturday 14 April 2018.

Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle: "Many moments of quiet pleasure"

Marianne Elliott's West End Premiere of Simon Stephens' play Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle opened at the Wyndham's Theatre on Monday 9 October 2017.
In this uncertain world, who can predict what brings people together? When two strangers meet by chance amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, their lives are changed forever.
The cast for this two-hander features Anne-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian thought that, "while it is presented with great panache, Heisenberg is basically a slender, romantic fable that uses science to provide a bit of intellectual stiffening... Both actors are excellent and the play has many moments of quiet pleasure," while Neil Norman in the Daily Express said that it "delivers an unvarnished tale of two characters adrift in their own lives and is aided by a brace of intoxicating performances."
Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle continues to play at the Wyndham's Theatre up to Saturday 6 January 2018.

Stomp to close 7 January 2015 after 15-year run

It has been announced that Stomp will close at London's Ambassadors Theatre on SUnday 7 January 2018 after a West End run of just over 15-years.
Originally staged in London at the Bloomsbury Theatre in 1991, Stomp went to Edinburgh followed by a world tour that culminated in a sell-out season at London's Sadler's Wells Theatre in January 1994, returning to London in 1995 for a season at the Royal Festival Hall, and again in 1998 at the Roundhouse Theatre. The show then finally made it into London's West End when it opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in September 2002, playing up to 2007 when it transferred to it's current home at the Ambassadors Theatre - where it finally closes after a West End run of just over 15-years.
In May 2014 it was announced that Sir Cameron Mackintosh would be buying the Ambassadors Theatre from it's current owner, Sir Stephen Waley-Cohen, and would be seeking permissions from the local council to remodel the building from a traditional proscenium arch theatre into a 450-seater thrust-stage auditorium to be renamed the Sondheim Theatre.
Stomp continues to play at the Ambassadors Theatre up to Sunday 7 January 2018.

Labour of Love: 'a brilliant new play, sparklingly acted'

Jeremy Herrin's World Premiere production of James Graham's new play Labour of Love opened at the Noel Coward Theatre on Tuesday 3 October 2017.
A political comedy set in the Labour Party's traditional northern heartlands and set against the backdrop of the past 25 years when the Labour Party has moved on from Neil Kinnock through Tony Blair into Jeremy Corbyn... and beyond?
The cast features Martin Freeman as the Labour MP 'David Lyons' and Tamsin Greig as his constituency agent, 'Jean Whittaker'.
When this production opened Michael Billington in the Guardian hailed it as being a "brilliant new play" that "is sparklingly acted," and Ann Treneman in the Times highlighted that "when Tamsin Greig and Martin Freeman are together on stage, they are magic. She's acerbic, funny, vulnerable. He's bustling and earnest and, as a politician, can see the bigger picture," adding that "Jeremy Herrin directs with confidence."
Labour of Love continues to play at the Noel Coward Theatre up to Saturday 2 December 2017.

'Exceptional' and 'magnificent' Girl from the North Country transfers 29 December 2017

Following an eleven-week season at the Old Vic Theatre, it has now been confirmed that Conor McPherson's acclaimed production of his own play Girl From the North Country - featuring the songs of Bob Dylan - will transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre on Friday 29 December 2017 for a three month season.
1934. Duluth, Minnesota in the midst of the Great Depression. A family adrift, their future on a knife edge. Lost and lonely people drifting through rooms of their guesthouse. But Nick Laine thinks he's seen a way out...
When this production opened at the Old Vic Michael Billington in the Guardian praised how "the constant dialogue between the drama and the songs that makes this show exceptional," while Paul Taylor in the i newspaper explained that "rather than move the show forward, the songs open it up, conversing with the drama and amplifying the mood of Depression-era despair or hope, and providing the lift to transcendence... Two formidable artists have shown respect for the integrity of each other's work here and the result is magnificent."
Girl From the North Country will play at the Noel Coward Theatre from Friday 29 December 2017 through to Saturday 24 March 2018.

The Grinning Man opens 18 December 2017

The new musical The Grinning Man, based on the novel by Victor Hugo, opens at London's Trafalgar Studios on Monday 18 December 2017, following public previews from Tuesday 5 December.
A strange new act has arrived at the Stokes Croft fair, a grotesque oasis of entertainment. Soon everyone from the gutter rats to the new Queen has fallen for the handmade freak Grinpayne and his hideously beautiful face. But who is he really? And how did he come to be so marked? Together with an old man, a blind girl and a wolf, he has a story to tell. A tale so tragic and so strange that not even he can guess how it will end.
Based the Victor Hugo 1869 novel The Laughing Man and adapted for the stage by Carl Grose, with lyrics by Carl Grose, Tom Morris, Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, and music by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler. This production comes into London's West End following an acclaimed run at the Bristol Old Vic in October 2016.
The cast in London will feature Louis Maskell as 'Grinpayne', the grinning man, and Julian Bleach as 'Barkilphedro', who are both reprising their roles from the Bristol production.
The Grinning Man is scheduled to play a limited two month run in the main space at the Trafalgar Studios up to Saturday 17 February 2018.